There was this game… came out awhile ago… what was it called… Sins of a Solar Son… no that wasn’t it, Super Solar Empire? No that definitely was not it…. Ah, I remember it was Sins of Solar Empire, easily the most epic space fairing RTS since Homeworld was released. The mighty creators of this amazing RTS just released the game again bundled with its two micro expansion packs called Sins of Solar Empire: Trinity. Since we at ZTGD didn’t have a PC section when SSE was first released take this review as one review of the entire game.
Sins of a Solar Empire puts you into the commander’s seat of your own intergalactic empire and sees how well you can do against both CPU and real players in a bout for complete domination. With the likes of the micro expansion diplomacy you can win worlds without having to glass them into a bronze age. It’s hard to even figure out where exactly I should start, Sins of Solar Empire is such a massive game that I feel like I am going to leave something out.
Let’s start I guess with setting up the game. Battles take place on a massive map, each location whether it is a sun, an asteroid or planet occupies a circle formed portion of the map and connects to another location that you can travel to. Now the amount of usable land is determined by the planet/sun/ect. gravity well. Within the radius of the well you can build and develop your colony, this can include defence platforms, mining facilities and shipyards. It’s within these gravity wells that you’ll move your troops around and fight. When you exit the radius of the gravity well you can then open up a tear in space and jump to a corresponding new location.
Now that you know how the game works we can start talking about the other stuff. The only real problem with Sins is that it doesn’t really have a narrative single player to follow, it has these intriguing cut scenes but the offline portion of the game consists of a massive list of different skirmish maps. Some of them have immense maps containing hundreds of planets; some of them are extremely small.
Gameplay mechanics are akin to other 4x RTS titles, the research maps are expansive and there is something to improve in almost every aspect of your Empire. You gather both money from taxes, and ore and crystals from the resources at your colonies. There is however one interesting twist, you can sell and buy ore and crystals off the market, so if you need more of one or need money more than resources you can do as you please, but be warned, buying or selling too much of one item can have dire consequences on the short term health of the market.
Another great addition that you can toggle on and off is the presence of pirates. I loved this idea because it makes the universe seem more alive, dealing with pirate raids and destroying pirate instillations seems like something that every empire should have to deal with and just adds another spice to the already spicy winsauce that is Sins of Solar Empire.
Who could forget about Sins best part, which is its amazing multiplayer? It’s pretty much the same great gameplay from the singleplayer except you have real people to contend with. This brings a whole new level of strategy and stress; you’ll find yourself literally tensing up at the start of a massive fight. From the few games I was able to play I didn’t suffer any lag issues which was nice, and I wasn’t dominated by veteran players which is making me itch to go another round.
Graphically the game works, while your colonies and buildings won’t catch the eye of a passerby the ships themselves are lovely to behold. Each race has their own set of ships ranging from tiny frigates to massive capital ships each with a different look that both stands out from the other races, but is unified with its home race. In battle the game really shines, tiny fighters zoom around monstrous ships doing what they can for their team, while the larger ships trade high powered laser and missile attacks. It’s very exciting to behold, especially when you start getting into the really high numbers.
Speaking of battle, Sins really hits this aspect of its gameplay out of the park. Each ship has his strengths and weakness and role that it should play, and managing your fleet with that in mind leads to some fantastic fights that can last and I am not kidding here, hours. Seeing a fleet warp into enemy territory and do battle while you move a second one around to flank adds both depth and intensity to the fight, you truly feel like you’re fighting in an epic war of ships and as I mentioned above it all looks amazing.
Sins does have a couple of rough spots that need to be brought up. Some key information is hard to find for newcomers, and managing your fleet is a bit of a bother, something that could use refinement but isn’t a huge detriment to the game. The biggest issue is the aforementioned lack of a narrative single player. I am a big fan of plots in my RTS games, I can’t wait to see what happens in Starcraft 2 and Command and Conquer 4, and since they seem to have lore and universe already set up it’s a shame that this title doesn’t have a story to tell.
I believe the best thing I can say about Sins of Solar Empire: Trinity is that it’s a black hole of your free time. You’re going to find yourself zoning into the game and when you finally snap out of it hours will have flown passed. Trinity is a great value pack for any PC gamer who hasn’t jumped on board, at only 39.99. It’s a title we should be proud of, one we should all be buying.
Review copy provided by publisher.